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Revista médica de Chile

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SALDIAS P, Fernando; DIAZ P, Orlando; GONZALEZ B, Sergio  and  OSSES A, Rodrigo. Bronchiolar disorders: clinical-radiological assessment and classification. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2011, vol.139, n.9, pp.1218-1228. ISSN 0034-9887.

Bronchiolar disorders are generally difficult to diagnose. A detailed clinical history may point toward a specific diagnosis. Pertinent clinical questions include history of smoking, collagen vascular disease, inhalation injury, medication use and organ transplantation. It is important also to evaluate possible systemic and pulmonary signs of infection, evidence of air trapping, and high-pitched expiratory wheezing, which may suggest small airways involvement. Pulmonary function tests and plain chest radiography may demonstrate abnormalities; however, they rarely prove sufficiently specific to obviate bronchoscopic or surgical biopsy. High-resolution CT (HRCT) scanning of the chest is often an important diagnostic tool to guide diagnosis in these difficult cases, because different subtypes of bronchiolar disorders may present with characteristic image findings. Some histopathologic patterns of bronchiolar disease may be relatively unique to a specific clinical context but others are nonspecific with respect to either etiology or pathogenesis. Primary bronchiolar disorders include acute bronchiolitis, respiratory bronchiolitis, follicular bronchiolitis, mineral dust airway disease, constrictive bronchiolitis, diffuse panbronchiolitis, and other rare variants. Prominent bronchiolar involvement may be seen in several interstitial lung diseases, including hypersensitivity pneumonitis, collagen vascular disease, respiratory bronchiolitis-associated interstitial lung disease, cryptogenic organizing pneumonia, and pulmonary Langerhans’ cell histiocytosis. Large airway diseases that commonly involve bronchioles include bronchiectasis, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The clinical and prognostic significance of a bronchiolar lesion is best determined by identifying the etiology, underlying histopathologic pattern and assessing the correlative clinic-physiologic-radiologic context.

Keywords : Bronchiolitis; Diagnosis, differential; Lung diseases, obstructive.

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